A sweetmeat like no other, so crispy on the outside and one bite into that syrupy goodness and the world could end right there and then and I wouldn’t be worried at all.
This sweetmeat also happens to be the sweetmeat that breaks me; it brings me to my knees every time I have to make it. My brain stops thinking and I break out in a sweat. Jalebi is my kryptonite.
My old go to recipe contained yeast and yeast and I are not friends. 99% of the time, either I make the water too hot, killing the yeast or, I make it too cold or the yeast cannot rise. I made my father go out and buy me a kettle that could tell you what the temperature of water was, so that I could stop killing the yeast. R900 later and I am still killing the yeast.
Then I came across a recipe that used yoghurt but the batter had to ferment overnight. Another nightmare, seeing as its for everlasting cold in our area, I thought wrapping the container in the thick winter blankets and sticking it right at the back of the pantry would help it rise. No such luck, all it did was create chaos in the pantry, because when I took the blanket out of the cupboard, the blanket knocked over all my organized spices and lids fell open, bottles broke and sauces were spilt all over the floor and my mother made me clean everything up. As if it was my fault, technically she wanted me to make jalebi so this mess was her fault, wasn’t it?
I hate cleaning up, seriously hate it with a passion. You should see my room, my mother is just itching to get in there and clean, but she is banned from scratching as if that every stopped her. The other night she was snooping around in my cupboards while I was in the shower and then she ambushed me while I was getting out the shower to ask why I had hidden this away. In my defense, I even forgot I had hidden it there. It was most likely hidden in the cupboard for a few years, but it took her 30 minutes to find it. Time I put an alarm system in my room.
Back to the jalebi chronicles.
With the prayer month, fast approaching, my mother has been hinting that we must make jalebi and I have been changing the subject every time.
But because I hate not being able to make something, I decided to hit the internet and I do some research.
I came across this recipe that instead of using yeast and did not require the batter to stand overnight and ferment. I was skeptical and had zero faith that it would actually turn out like it should, but believe it or not it did come out like jalebi should.
When my dad came home and saw what I had made he invited all his buddies over to share the sweetness and they took the left overs for padkos. So I’m taking that the new and improved recipe was a hit. My mother, who hates sweet things, loved it; I had to pry the tray out of her hands before she got a sugar high.
And believe it or not the secret ingredient is something that we had in our household that my mother screams at me when I take it, because taking this means something bad is happening in my body and I need to see the doctor ASAP. Parents can be so dramatic at times. The secret ingredient is ENO. Who would have thought!
Ingredients for the batter:
- 1 x cup Sasko cake flour.
- 1 x tsp ghee.
- 1/ x tsp egg yellow food colouring.
- 1 x packet original eno.
- ½ cup + ¼ cup water.
- Oil for deep frying
Ingredients for the syrup:
- 1 x cup water.
- 1 x cup castor sugar.
- ½ x tsp elatchi powder.
- 1 x cap full egg yellow food colour.
- A few strands of saffron threads.
- Make the syrup by boiling all the ingredients together till the syrup has developed a soft ball consistency.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To make the batter, whisk together all the ingredients, except the Eno, till the batter is smooth and no lumps are visible.
- Heat the oil and once the oil is hot enough to fry your jalebi, whisk in the eno.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag, fitted with a medium nozzle.
- Pipe swirls into the hot oil and fry both sides will cooked through.
- Remove from the oil and immediately dip in the syrup.
- Shake off the excess syrup and place on a cooling rack to allow any excess syrup to drip off.
- Allow to cool till the syrup has set and the jalebi is hard to the touch.